Diamonds were first discovered in India in the 4th century BC and at that time they were popular because of their strength and durability. They were worn to ward off evil spirits and used as a cutting and engraving tool.
When diamonds were first discovered they were uncut and that affected the brilliance of the stone, but gradually new techniques emerged and today there are various shapes and forms which show off a diamond’s beautiful shine. Famous diamonds include the Koh-I-Noor and the Great Star of Africa, which are part of the Queen’s Crown Jewels.
Antique diamonds are in great demand, whether on their own or within jewellery pieces such as brooches, rings and pendants. There are four things to consider when buying a diamond: The Cut, The Clarity, The Carat and The Colour. These four things determine the quality and the value of a diamond.
The cut refers to the diamonds brilliance, the way it sparkles and how the light plays on it. Only about 3% of cut diamonds achieve the top grade and these are obviously the most expensive diamonds. The most common cut is the Round Brilliant Cut, but there are many others, such as the Princess Cut, the Heart shaped Cut, the Emerald and the Cushion Cut amongst others.
As a diamond is a natural stone and not man-made, it usually has flaws and blemishes. These are either within the stone itself, or on the surface of the diamond. A diamond without any flaws is extremely rare, but they do exist. A diamond that only has a few flaws is worth a lot more money than a diamond with many flaws. An average diamond has flaws which cannot be seen by the naked eye. A poor clarity diamond is just that, a diamond where the flaws can be easily spotted.
The carat is the weight of the diamond. Large diamonds are quite rare and that is why they are so expensive. A one carat diamond weighs 200 milligrams. A diamond of this weight would cost the average person two months wages.
Diamonds are found in various colours. In Australia, the Kimberley Mine produces some of the world’s most beautiful pink diamonds. These diamonds are extremely expensive and very popular. Diamonds also come in blue, yellow, green, champagne and white.
Antique diamond jewellery can be a good investment if you choose wisely. Have a look around antique shops, fairs and jewellers, where there are some exquisite pieces to be found.